I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to share wonderful news about advances in Tuberculosis (TB) treatment on Likoma Island, Malawi.
A number of years ago, we received a strong appeal from St Peter’s Hospital to help prevent the high number of deaths from TB on the Island. TB was one of the biggest causes of adult illness and death from a communicable disease; a situation only worsened by the high incidence of HIV infection. African Steps did comprehensive research and took advice from TB experts with experience of treating TB in Africa. It was recommended that the way forward was to build a TB isolation ward at St Peter’s Hospital; we therefore launched our campaign to raise the required funds. This is the point where you very generously gave a donation via Global Giving to this cause.
Alongside this plan to build the isolation ward, the Clinical Officers at the hospital began to implement a World Health Organisation protocol called DOTS (direct observed treatment short-course). Essentially, this meant that patients with TB who were clinically stable, were observed in the community to ensure compliance with the taking of their medication.
The great news is that, as in other parts of Malawi, the implementation of DOTS on Likoma Island has resulted in a decline in deaths associated with TB.
We have been monitoring this situation through feedback from the Senior Clinical Officer and a review by African Steps medical staff on two visits. The current situation is that, due to a clear policy on TB control, standardised treatment and the availability of effective drugs, the incidence of TB on Likoma is declining significantly. According to the World Health Organisation, the preferred management for almost all TB cases is now DOTS, not isolation. African Steps trustees have, therefore, decided not to build the TB isolation ward. TB is still a problem on the Island, but the staff at St Peter’s are working efficiently to tackle it.
We are writing to share this promising news with you, but also to let you know that unused funds originally intended for the isolation ward will be directed to the provision of essential medical equipment, drugs and staff incentives and training. We continue to do vital, life saving work at the hospital (for example, following the first ever rheumatic heart screening program we undertook in August 2014, we are now arranging for the treatment, including some valve replacement surgery, of a large number of children, who would otherwise have died in early adulthood). Please see our website at www.africansteps.org.uk or our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/africansteps for other work we are doing at St Peter’s Hospital.
Thank you, once again, for your generous support of our work on Likoma Island. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
With best wishes,